The Scottish Government was formed after the May 5, 2011 parliamentary election at which the SNP gained a clear majority with 69 of the 129 seats at Holyrood and a mandate to govern until the next election in 2016.
Prior to the Your Scotland, Your Referendum consultation, the Scottish Government conducted the National Conversation between August 2007 and November 2009 inviting public comment on a range of potential changes to the country’s constitution.
It began with the publication of a discussion paper Choosing Scotland’s Future, and culminated in the publication of Your Scotland Your Voice, a White Paper laying out options supported by detailed policy papers.
The independence referendum consultation, Your Scotland, Your Referendum was launched by the First Minister on Burns Night, January 25, 2012, and closed at midnight on Friday, May 11, 2012. It attracted more than 26,000 responses.
On October 15, 2012, the Edinburgh Agreement was signed by First Minister Alex Salmond and Prime Minister David Cameron. The Agreement ensures that the Scottish Parliament at Holyrood will be able to deliver a referendum that meets the highest standards of fairness, transparency and propriety.
On January 30, 2013 the Scottish Government accepted the Electoral Commission’s recommendation on the wording of the independence referendum question: ‘Should Scotland be an independent country? Yes/No.’
On February 5, 2013, the Scottish Government published the first in a series of papers intended to show how a constitutional platform will be put in place in the event of a yes vote in the independence referendum. Scotland’s Future: from the Referendum to Independence and a Written Constitution suggests Scotland could be an independent state by March 2016.
A historic step was taken on March 12, 2013 when the Scottish Independence Referendum (Franchise) Bill was introduced to the Scottish Parliament to extend the franchise to 16 and 17 year olds, ensuring their voice is heard in the 2014 referendum.
On March 21, 2013 the Scottish Independence Referendum Bill was introduced to the Scottish Parliament, setting the conditions for the referendum and for it to be held on September 18, 2014 and passed on November 14, 2013.
The White Paper on independence was published on Tuesday November 26, 2013.